Government Collection of Union Dues

Stop taxpayer-funded collection of union dues

The Issue

The state of Texas and most local governments, including school districts, provide automatic deduction of union dues from public workers’ paychecks. However, it is not the role of government to serve as the dues collector for unions, or as a revenue collector for any private organization.

Many states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, and Alabama have already adopted laws prohibiting state and local governments from collecting union dues. These statutes do not limit in any way the ability of members of government unions and other public employees to pay dues to their labor organization or to contribute to union PACs.

Requiring union members and all government employees to make private arrangements with unions is important, given that unions such as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) use funds collected from public sector employees to fund their private sector unionization drives as well as to organize assistance for their allies during elections.

In 2016, Proposition 3 asked the Texas Republican Party if government should be prohibited from collecting union dues. Eighty-three percent of Republicans supported the measure.

The AFL-CIO is one of the largest labor unions in the nation with 12.5 million members and thousands of state and local affiliates. Texas alone has raised over $101 million for the AFL-CIO over the last decade. This included $38 million for state employees and $63 million for school district employees. It does not include dues money collected from the 66 union affiliates at the local level due to a lack of reporting transparency.

AFL-CIO has also launched “worker centers” like Workers Defense Project and other nonprofits who do not have to report donors. These union groups pressure cities to pass union-friendly ordinances, such as mandatory paid sick leave and higher local minimum wages that typically exempt unionized workplaces as a way to pressure private employers to unionize.

Recommendations

  • Prohibit any governmental entity (the state or political subdivision of the state) from collecting membership dues from any public employee (either directly through payroll deduction or through a third party) on behalf of a trade union, labor union, employees’ association (as defined by the Local Government Code), or professional association.
  • Do not prohibit a public employee from joining a union or association of their choice.
  • Do not take away any freedoms of association or free speech.

Stay Informed

Do you want to receive the latest research and commentary on issues facing the Texas Legislature?